In response to the extended dry weather since last fall, the Soil and Water Districts Commission granted a statewide variance during their June 13th meeting allowing grazing until September 1, 2018, in livestock excluded areas that are under maintenance of a state cost­share contract.

This releases approximately 112,780 acres statewide for grazing. The variance applies to the following practices: DFR-5 – Woodland Protection Through Livestock Exclusion; DWC-1 – Water Impoundment Reservoir; N386 – Field Border; N393 – Filter Strip; N472 – Livestock Exclusion; and WQ10 – Stream Protection.

Any seeding in the excluded area that is within the first year of establishment should be evaluated carefully to determine if it can withstand grazing. Contact your local Soil  and Water Conservation  District office if you have specific questions about the practices.

The drought continues across much of Missouri with concern mounting for many crops, with hay and pasture for livestock owners at the forefront.

“For certain parts of the state, livestock water is also a restricting factor for producers trying to maximize the forage they have,” said Darla Campbell, MU Extension Agricultural Business Specialist.

The majority of Missouri counties remain ineligible for agricultural disaster assistance due, in part, to the spotty rain which may register adequate rainfall in a county where the official rainfall reading is collected, while the rest of the county remains dry.

Even though counties in Northeast Missouri are down 50% of their normal hay production, there is still a chance for fall forage growth which usually accounts for a third of annual forage production, says Campbell.